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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
Posted in Science / Social Sciences / Sociology

Critical Book Review of the "Rise of the Right": What has become of our universities?

Aug. 28, 2017 7:58 am
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Winlow, Hall, Treadwell and Policy PressAttribution Share Alike

The Rise of the Right

In my book review of this important original work: The Rise of the Right, I have chosen to limit my own focus to Winlow, Hall and Treadwell’s claim that neo-liberal dominance of post-industrialised nations of the West – particularly in the UK (as their example for the rise of the "Right" in working class politics), has had an unintended back-fire effect in terms or radicalising those deprived a modern university-led intellectual political, natural science, or social science, understanding of their social condition. The authors of ‘The Rise of the Far Right’ see the dreadfully injurious bottom-line greedy personal pocket lining with bonuses money grubbing corporate aping of our UK universities, managed by a new model army of cherry pickingly anti-intellectual university – managerially and monetarily ambitious - careerists, as one rather significant partial cause of this serious social problem.

At a personal level, as confirmatory evidence of the three author’s claims, the following two sections of text reflect my own experience with regard to the dreadful academic reception of my own original discoveries in 2013 of the most unwelcome, yet independently verifiable, spectacularly disturbingly disruptive, facts that Charles Darwin lied about who read and understood Patrick Matthew’s (1831) prior-publication of the theory of macroevolution by natural selection, and my original discovery that those who played major roles at the epicentre of pre-1858 influence on Darwin and Wallace read Matthew’s ideas before either Darwin of Wallace are known to have put so much as pen to private notebook on the topic.

To help make the point the authors wish us to consider, in relation to both social science and natural science, I will quote and cite two considerable sections of text. The first is not quoted by the authors, but I wish to draw their attention to it, because it confirms their understanding. What follows is taken directly from ‘Science in History’, by J.D Benal (1954) taken here form the 1969 (third edition) Pelican publication (pages 33-34):

‘In fact at all times the individual scientist has needed to work in close connection with three other groups of persons: his patrons, his colleagues and his public. The function of the patron, whether a wealthy individual, university, corporation, or a department of State, is to provide the money on which the scientist must live and which will enable him to carry on his work. The patron will in turn want to have something to say on what is actually done, especially if his ultimate object is commercial advantage or military success. It will apparently be less so only if he is operating from pure benevolence. Or in the pursuit of prestige or advertisement; then he will only want results to be sufficiently spectacular and not to disturbing.

In a Socialist society the function of the patron is taken over by the organs of popular government, at all levels, for the factory or farm laboratory to the academy institute, and is radically changed in the process. Because such a government can, and indeed necessarily must, take a long-term view….’

Now, please compare the above expert scientific and historical analysis with what Winlow, Hall and Treadwell write today on page 55 of their excellent book ‘The Rise of the Right’ to see just how well their observations support Bernal’s classic work:

‘It is difficult to understate the pressure that now bears down on the contemporary academic working in these specialist socio-political disciplines. The external pressure from neoliberal managers to chase research income from funding restricted to social administration issues sits alongside the internal disciplinary pressure to place all analysis in frameworks constructed from an array of approved liberal-pluralist theories that confuse, misinform and mollify rather than enlighten the students and the public.

… In academia’s Social Sciences and Humanities disciplines, the most important for political education, a hierarchy dominated by the ideologies of left wing and right wing liberalism is reproduced by league tables, gross inequalities in research income, and the maintenance of prestige among a snobbish population keen on introducing their children to the right social networks. The liberal mass media assist by promoting the work of established liberal intellectuals to the status of global stars, despite the predictability and mediocrity of their work’.

Buy this book. There is so much in it that requires you to think about. You may not agree with all of it, and some of it may come across as too polemical for your tastes. If it does uset you to anger, ask yourself why you might despise ideas you disagree with, rather than relish a passionate academic debate and analysis of confirmable and disconfirming hard evidence and claims that cry out the for further testing by enquiry. What might have happened to you?

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